Dystopia - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
The dystopia of the average person is the utopia of the psychopath. You've only got to look a the general direction the world is heading in to know who is in charge...
As the world grew more violent so did the movies, their dark fantasies inoculating the population against the real world violence on the news. They were a dialogue that taught the population that violence was a normal part of life, that there was nothing they could do about it. It kept them docile as the bombs dropped on foreign lands, after all, hadn't they seen this plot before? The only way out was to stop glamourizing the violence and show it as it really is - horrifying, raw, wretched, psychopathic...
...The corporate overlords wanted a submissive population easily directed by subliminal messaging. They littered the online world with directions that spoke only to our subconscious minds to see who followed, those who did were selected for success, those who did not "failed" every test. They found that for the most part the STEM students were most ideal, the rest could be low-income job fodder, working every hour to make ends meet with no time to create and think.
As Einstein pointed out, true intelligence is creativity not knowledge. Those whose conscious minds were more highly connected to their subconscious could create new ideas and story plots as easily as dreaming. Though corporations wanted highly educated workers to make gadgets and luxuries, high levels of creativity were considered dangerous. Those with freer minds were more likely to see new ways forwards that did not involve the elites... new ways to run the world without money and centralized power... creative linguists were likely to be the first to see through the web of words that kept the minds of the population tightly controlled...
The robot took a brain scan and a full set of vitals before she'd even presented her identification. It then compared the biometrics to the account holder of the plastic card before him. No match. With pre-programmed perfection the robot welcomed her in flawless and smooth speech with just the right inflections to put her at ease. At the same time the exit sealed. "Please tell me your full name." The voice scan was compared to the account holder before she finished speaking. No match. The robot offered her a drink and made small talk, gleaning information from her body language with each answer, building it's case against her with legal-language ready to send the document to the court before she realized she was sprung. After a few sips the robot topped up the glass, taking epithelials from the rim. In three seconds she was identified as the account holder's sister. Unemployed, no health insurance, no means of income. Charges were filed as the robot offered sugar biscuits.
By 2280 everything is a commodity. Your pocket psychologist, a legal requirement, listens to all conversations, monitors all internet usage and takes full sets of vitals several times per day. That information plus the content of three daily therapy sessions are relayed to the global peace and security government. After it is digitally assessed for an automated crime prediction it is sold for exorbitant prices to advertising companies, medical providers and for-profit-prisons scouts. A prediction above a fifty percent chance of crime automatically increases your psychologist sessions. Above sixty percent your factory installed home surveillance cameras are secretly activated and monitored from a remote location wherever the labour is cheapest. A prediction above seventy percent means "bring in for 'questioning,'" a fact advertised on your social media automatically with a warning associates will be brought in in seven days. Above eighty percent was a life sentence. No trial.
Life was real simple. We elected a new president on promises he or she believed they would deliver. The day they set foot in the White House they got a visit from the real rulers, bankers and corporations. After that the new President was allowed to serve so long as their interests were front and foremost. Any deviation from the path and there were literally millions of fates that could befall their children...their spouse...and no-one would ever know. They had learnt from JFK that some Presidents would do the right thing at their own expense, but their kids...now that was different.
As a "sweet" touch they sent birthday cards to the President's family, each one was no more than a reminder that seeing their next birthday was always dependant on compliance. So it really didn't matter who we elected, in fact it was really best not to elect someone you liked. By the end of their term they were haggard and worn, aged beyond their years and ready to be put out to pasture on the presidential dinner circuit. They were ready to take their family and leave...
Let the "little people" argue over religion and politics, over which shiny horse wins the White House or 10 Downing Street. With control over the nation's money supply we bankers are above both. We are the Gods of this world. If there were no religions we'd have to invent other ways of division, divide and conquer, isn't that what we've always done? Anyway, the way things are going it'll be "game over" pretty soon, we'll have enough data to take out the rebels, the free-thinkers, in the most surgical of strikes. They'll find their bank accounts empty, their job gone, their identity "stolen." What a shame. Best to stay in your paddock my dears, we'll fleece you of course, but soon there won't be any options. We're looking forward to it, the end game after so many generations of work. We are the kings who will rule for thousands of years and we don't need God or morals. If I want your daughter she'll be mine until I'm bored of her, if want you derelict or dead you will be. Don't say you weren't warned, now be a good little flock. Baa. Baa.
As the city came out of the darkness of night, we crossed the Seine in silence. Without the traffic we walked right down the centre of the street and not far away lay The Eiffel Tower, like a skeleton of metal projecting up into a sky that was rapidly becoming blue. A morning like this should be foggy, misty at the least, but in contrast to our mood it looked determined to be a story-book perfect day in Paris - only without any parisians daring to leave their homes. Perhaps we should be hiding too, but we won't. Leroy has the transmission device and from the top of the tower we should get a good reception.
Standing at the base looking up I can truly say I never appreciated its size. The legs are as far apart as your average town plaza and the metal is dull. I reach out to touch it, cold of course. But then what was I expecting? We push on for the stairs, no electricity means no elevators and to be honest I don't think I could get in a little box right now anyway. The clang of our feet on the steps echoes around and by instinct I look around, fearful. No-one comes. Of course no-one comes. We're the only idiots foolish enough to try. We climb countless stairs until we reach the top, a far smaller space than below and I rush to the edge - Paris. It's spread out, a living map of classic architecture...
The apples are so uniform it's like they came out of a mould. I guess the ugly ones are apple sauce. I pick one up, the skin is firm and smooth with only the slightest softness. Without biting I know that on the other side of that rich red skin is crisp white flesh and in this heat I want to take a bite. But first I lift the apple to drink in the sweet scent. Almost no-one under twenty in this district has seen one, let alone tasted it. Before my teeth break in to release flavour and recall those distant days, I pull it away from my mouth and stare again. I should take it to the pre-school and slice it up thinly. They might not even like it, sometimes it's hard to like something you've never had before – the unknown can be scary – even if it is only an apple.
Remo thinks he's found a way to send a message back to 2015, twenty years in our past. I'm not convinced but if you're reading this he was right and I was wrong. We don't know what will happen to our branch of the time tree if it works, perhaps we'll just fade away. But in this future no-one knows what happiness is unless a corporation tells them. If they have money then products make them happy, if they are poor then working makes them happy. Our education system is like The Hunger Games, only without the weaponry. There are only so many passing grades available and the kids compete for them under the crippling pressure exerted by fearful parents. To the victors go the spoils, a beautiful home and all the food they could ever want. The losers who are artistic work in the textile factories, the scientific ones in the code farms. We all act like it's a fair competition, but like in that old classic novel it isn't. The private school kids are the "careers," well equipped with every advantage, and since they worked hard at their schooling they figure they earned it. To keep rebellion at bay they throw out a few scholarships and the rags-to-riches stories dominate our televisions and magazines. We poor cheer them on, all the while breaking a little more inside. Our teachers protested the cuts every time they could as the old system was washed away. The new one promised a country fit for the technological age, what use was art, writing? The parents were kept sweet with tax cuts that came from their own back pockets and the only winners were the elite who had already won.
War came over the horizon like a slow moving tank. We became anxious, scared. Violence once confined to the television was playing out on our streets. The drama of hollywood was written in blood on the sidewalk. We choked on the liberal progress we had made to be multi-cultural, to accept different faiths and cultures like it was acrid air. No longer could we see muslims as human, only enemies, threats. Then we did what every generation has done since the dawn of time, when push came to shove we were easy to manipulate into war. Propaganda is so easy to see from the lens of the future, we think it's blatant and those folks long ago were wicked and stupid. But it turns out we haven't evolved at all. Our culture put up some resistance for a time, perhaps if we had caved to the will of the government sooner they might have stopped some of the carnage on our own soil. But we had to “learn.” So in came the brown-skinned men to slaughter our children until we bayed for the bombs...
In war they say “To the victor go the spoils,” but that phrase has been out of date for so long. In war to the ammunitions and bomb makers go part of the spoils, the rest is handed out in contracts to rebuild what was blown up. Yet more is made from the harvesting of resources. It is a simple business model: the country is selected, fanaticism is sown, encouraged and trained with money that comes convoluted roots from our own elite. Then the young go of their own free will to commit the terrorism that will end their own lives, their state, their culture. They die to protest the wrongs committed to them, but ultimately only play into the enemy's hands. If I could go back in time I'd tell them that the only way to win is to show your humanity, your goodness, your love to the world. I would say the enemy dehumanizes you in order to rally their armies of ordinary citizens. I would say don't talk to the generals or the governments, but to regular families with no vested interest in war.
The difference between utopia and dystopia isn't the technology. We can have a high-tech heaven-on-earth or a high-tech hell. The difference is our culture, how we treat one another and how we care for the rest of life on earth. Don't get me wrong, I believe that scientists do God's work as much as anyone, but without the writers, the philosophers and the soulful guidance of religious leaders, we will veer dangerously toward a future of the rich getting richer and the poor being disposable. That is why I'll be a writer until my days above the ground are done. Writers together can educate through fictional stories in a way that direct teaching cannot, people need to form their own conclusions. So never let anyone belittle your talent for the written word. The world needs creative writers as much as the mathematicians and engineers, perhaps even more so.
Gordon rested his hand on the aging concrete and studied it like the random hair-line cracks had meaning. His eyes flickered over it before he spoke, his voice gravely and low. "This was a mall back when I was a kid, back in the days when the goods came in from overseas and we never asked where they came from, who made them or what the real cost was. It was like Christmas everyday, and all you had to do to participate was give up the best years of your life to some job you didn't believe in." Behind him Jacob stuffed his hands into his pockets, not really sure he wanted to hear about the "old days" all over again. It was bad enough his Dad could only afford to have him trained as a road sweeper when all he dreamed of was painting flowers; but his Dad wasn't finished. "It was like a cathedral really, we all went to feed our souls and came out poorer in every way. I know your generation will condemn us for the mess we made; but life was so fast back then, all of us competing and fearful.
From out of the bushes tumbled an octopus of wiry limbs in crazy motion. Almost before Lila could startle the boy was on his feet and locking eyes with her like she was waving a gun. After that frozen moment when neither one of them breathed he turned on his heels and sprinted down the sidewalk, not even pausing at the boundary of the woods. One moment he was cast in the orange-yellow glow of the aging street-lamps and then he was swallowed by the darkness Lila's eyes could not penetrate. He was one of the outcast children, he must be. Didn't they all look like that? No surgical enhancements and no tattoos of belonging? His skin looked tanned under the dirt from too much time under the sun. She adjusted her dress though it hung perfectly already and made a mental note to surrender her iris cam images to security when she got to the Knowledge Centre.
When these city streets hummed we have everything except our freedom and we liked it that way. We had the toys and the gadgets, the labour saving devices and minimum wage workers to care for our children. We had designer clothes and designer coffee, we had the media to tell us everything we ever needed to know. It was so simple to know how to think and act. Of course it wasn't perfect for everyone, the teenagers were so wild we had them locked up from thirteen through twenty. They never listened to their parents anyway. Never listened to those who loved them enough to pay the bills. For the most part they were surrendered gladly, leaving Mom and Dad to enjoy their hard earned money. The “kids” were taught some manners in the military and worked off their room and board. It was wonderful! Now we are like the peasants of old, huddled on the outskirts to avoid the radiation. Our missions to bring back bounty start at sixty, then we are considered expendable...
Ivan stood on top of the clumps, two windswept mounds of earth and grass elevated to legendary status amid the surrounding flat farmland. Roland had cheated of course, to this one-on-one meeting he had two goons to pat him down and remove any gadgets to a safe distance away. After passing the detectors over every inch they took his cell phone, placed it in a lead box and retreated to the base of the hills. Ivan swallowed hard. No phone meant no secret transmission of the conversation to his supporters, but there was no such restriction on Roland. As the early October wind bit at his face his adversary greeted him warmly, maximum charm, like he did on every podcast from his never-disclosed location. His audience was listening and to them Ivan was the enemy.
Glancing at the man who was two decades older than his public persona, the cell phone was easy to spot. It wasn't wafer thin like the popular models, but almost as large as the 1980's early "brick types" everyone laughed at. This wasn't simply a phone, it was the latest in mobile broadcasting. The superior sound quality gave an impression authority - an essential tool in the war of rhetoric that was the new age. The smart money was in guns, bombs and misinformation - with Roland the star of the show...
It started off so innocently - remotely secure your home, know the kids are home and safe. Next it was time to secure the kids. If a kid didn't have a chip implanted the police couldn't guarantee their recovery in the case of a kidnapping. At first no-one went for the chips, then after a string of ugly abductions with grisly endings there was no price too high. The chips were implanted where they couldn't be gouged out in random locations. If junior so much as took a wander down a side road to check out a comic book store the parents and police were instantly alerted. Every false alarm meant a fine and all deviations in routine must be programmed seven days in advance. No more spontaneous bike rides or trips to the mall.
When those kids grew up there were campaigns for a free chip-removal service but after so many years the chips were imbedded in deep tissue. The few who insisted either died on the operating table or were kidnapped soon after - no chip meant no police protection. Long gone were the days of detective work and "intelligence." Next came the iris cams for kids, time to know what they were looking at, was it homework or x-rated magazines? No-one wanted them either until some kid with an iris-cam was cleared of a capital crime from his recordings. Now they are installed at birth and refusal means you loose custody of the kid - they aren't "protected" without one. In forty years there won't be a soul in the western world without one and the latest versions contain "kill switches" - only to be used to stop terrorism - of course.
In 2035 we have all the freedoms we used to have. We can look at whatever we want, there is no censorship. The government has finally learnt a lesson from the barbarism committed to the First Nations all those years ago. They learnt that the fastest way to break a person, a family, a community is to take their children away - pain beyond measure that never ends. State-sponsored kidnap is the new tool of population control. Whatever the "undesirable" was thinking of doing that the powers didn't like stops instantly. There should be uproar, right? Rebellion. But they can ruin anyone by the switching of a button. Thanks to social media and our voice recognition devices recording everything we say, there are no more skeletons in closets. They know everything about everyone, more than any scorned lover. By the time they're done your best friends will shake their heads and shed a tear that "they never really knew you at all" and those "poor, poor, children." It doesn't matter if they tell everyone how loved they were, if they cry for you nightly and shatter inside - they have been "rescued" and must be appointed a state nanny with the right "qualifications" to care for them. By the time they're through the parents and kids are alcoholics, unstable, mostly homeless and dependant on the state that despises them.
I never understand what it meant to live. To see grass was always something so... average. Now I would do anything to see grass, see anything green for that matter. Now my life is in shatters and my past seems so perfect. In my past, I never knew how horrible this life would become.
It was a scene depicting beauty; green waves rolling on gritty sand, water shining in the sunlight. In my hand was a tiny yellow locket. It had been lodged between the bones that once belonged to the others.
I knew I should return it but, the part of me that never owned anything so pretty didn’t let go of the locket. Instead, I found myself adorning the necklace around my neck. Its steel chain had been rusted, but my 12 year old mind didn’t care.
Now I am 18, I wish I had cared 6 years ago. The necklace refuses to let go of my neck.
I fear I will become like the ones I stole it from.